TUMUT apprentice jockey Megan Taylor has etched her names into the record books on the back of a remarkable season of riding.
Taylor has captured this year’s Southern District Racing Association (SDRA) jockey’s premiership, and in the process become the first female to win the title.
The 29-year-old claimed an emphatic victory, winning her maiden premiership by seven wins.
Taylor reclaimed the lead off Brendan Ward mid-season then held off he and fellow experienced Nick Souquet for a historic victory.
Taylor is still coming to terms with her achievement.
“It feels pretty good. It’s quite unbelievable really,” Taylor said.
“People were saying with 10 meetings to go still, ‘oh you’ve got it’ and I’m like ‘no’. They would say to me ‘you must be confident’ but how can you be confident in the racing game? I told them I won’t be confident until the last race of the season is run.
“With Nick Souquet and Brendan Ward chasing, they get more rides than me and the quality of horses are better. The last month of the season hasn’t been that great for me. With the last few meetings to go, it didn’t matter where I put the horse, it couldn’t quite get there.
“So the last month was touch and go, I was counting down until the last meeting and it’s definitely good that it’s all done and dusted. I’m very glad to secure it.”
Taylor does not come from a racing background.
After finishing school in Hay, she gained employment at a horse stud in Scone and eventually ‘fell’ into an apprenticeship.
She started out in Wagga with Dave Heywood and Brad Witt, before a lack of opportunities saw her transferr to Kerry Weir at Tumut two years ago.
Taylor rode 14 winners in her first season with Weir, then rode 32 in the SDRA alone this season.
To be the first female to win the SDRA premiership only adds to the accomplishment for Taylor.
“It does. When I first started there was only a handful of us, and now we’re matching the boys per race,” she said.
“So it’s not like I’m the only girl out there doing it now. There is a lot of competition for us, more against each other, where as before it was one or two of us against a field of boys.
“They’re good riders, too, all the girls coming through so I feel it’s definitely a good achievement as well, being first female, with the competition there is now.”
As much as she would love to utilise her three kilogram claim in the city, Taylor’s goal is to keep riding winners wherever she gets an opportunity.
“I should just retire now, finish on a high,” she laughed.
“I just keep trying on each ride to go better, and if I make a mistake, try not to do it again.
“The aim is to double it. I got 33 winners this season, out of the SDRA included, last season I only got 14. So to double it was huge, so if I could double 33 that would be pretty bloody good.”
Taylor thanked Weir and his wife Michelle for all their support. She finishes her apprenticeship in February, after outriding her claim earlier in the year.
She also thanked her parents Robert and Carol, siblings and partner Rhys for their support.
2016-17 SDRA jockey’s premiership
Megan Taylor (a) 32
Nick Souquet 25
Brendan Ward 24.5
Simon Miller 22
Chelsea McFarlane (a) 20